A Mixed Bag - 'Rapture' by Lauren Kate

****

I haven't uniformly loved the books in this series (yes Fallen, not so much Torment) but I do love the series overall. Though it isn't always pitch-perfect, 'Rapture' is still a great ending to the - quadrilogy? Well, series. In particular I'm glad that Kate didn't try to spin it out any further, as seems to be happening too much these days with series in this genre. There's a definite, logical progression in the development of the two main characters throughout the four books, and the way that their quandry pans out in the last book makes good on that trajectory. Though both the 'twist' regarding Luce's true identity and Luce & Daniel's ultimate fate are somewhat predictable, they're still satisfying. And let's be honest: there isn't much that isn't predictable in teen paranormal romance novels. Which is part of the reason those of us who love them, love them!

Having said that, there is another twist at the end regarding Luce's history which I didn't see coming, and which is actually one of the reasons why I didn't give this book five stars. Rather like Primrose's fate in the Hunger Games, the revelation of the second forgotten section of Luce's past, presumably put in there for effect, seemed to me unnecessary and rushed. More to the point, it depleted what had, for me, been the driving force of the plot and character arc: Daniel & Luce's unwavering love for and devotion to each other. It also detracted from Luce's character itself. One of the things I've liked about this series is that Luce isn't necessarily the most perfect and beautiful girl in the room, but Daniel still loves her best, because of what's in her soul (as he tells us repeatedly.) But the final revelation about Luce's past [slight spoiler alert] was gilding the lily. We already have three major characters in love with her - this fourth one pushes the situation from just-about-believable into Mary Sue territory. Especially when there are so many other desirable females in attendance... Anyway, to say more about that is to say too much. But I'd be interested in whether other readers felt the same way.

The book's other major downfall is the many loose ends it doesn't tie up. And they're some pretty major ones: what, for instance, was the deal with Trevor's spontaneous combustion? That has been nagging me since the beginning of the series, but everyone just seems to accept it without explanation, with no mention made among all of the big revelations at the end.

And then, why do so many of Luce's close friends have to die? I actually hold JK Rowling somewhat responsible for this one - she was determined to kill off lovable characters as if it would somehow give the books greater adult credibility. Now this tendency seems to have infected the genre and similar ones. Can't good ever just plain triumph over evil? Do there always have to be major sacrifices? It's annoying, especially when the sacrifices seem just too simple.

Another peculiarly major oversight for Kate: in her Big Decision at the end of the book, Luce agonizes over what it might mean for her and Daniel and their angelic friends, but she never spares a thought for the human friends and family who stand to lose the most from her decision. In fact they never even cross her mind, which seems strange at best, given how important they've been to her in the past, and what she's learned about loss from visiting her past lives.

I was also ready to complain about the fact that Shelby & Miles seem to just fall off the face of the earth, along with the explanation for Arianne's burns, Roland's allegiance to Lucifer, etc. Then I remembered the strange little book 'Fallen in Love' which came out on Valentine's day. Got it, and it does explain some of these things - though not always particularly well. But that's another story.

At the end of the day this tragic love story does have a happily-ever-after, and it was well enough done to make me smile. So four stars, definitely. I'll be interested to see what Kate comes out with next.

 

By sarah on 11 July 2012 |